Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tuesday Morning Mystery, Natural History, and Even a Dose of Perspective!

 If you'd been here on the weekend, I might have invited you to come sit by the beach for a while with a glass of wine or a cup of tea.
 But I'm also very happy just to sit by myself, with knitting or a book or the weekend paper. Or just the sound of the waves to soothe
 and a view to contemplate. . . .

This weekend, though, when I settled in for some meditative breathing, my nostrils were assailed by something more than good old oxygen mixed with salt air. This air was . . . um, tangy? musky, decidedly fishy in that way that causes you to abandon your regular fishmonger and look for someone who cleaned his tanks more regularly. . . . It "ponged" as my Yorkshire rellies used to say!
 I looked around, trying to find a source, and there in front of me was the first clue. . . that crab carapace on the driftwood footstool above? It might simply be part of a beach collection the granddaughters had left behind.

But here's another piece on the concrete pavers just below. . .
 Innocuous enough, even pretty in colour, striking in shape, an attractive complement to the nearby beach glass. And not obviously smelly on their own . . .
 But as I looked around, nose wrinkled defensively against an aura of marine mammal den, a pattern began to emerge that pointed beyond the granddaughters. . .
 Some serious carnage, a hefty appetite . . . .
 And I remembered the noise that woke my husband a few nights ago, that carried up to our open bedroom window, a steady, crunching noise he connected, the next day, with crabshell fragments littered on the patio just below.


And I thought of the mink that startled me the day before, darting through the garden as I wandered with my camera. Perhaps the same one Pater evicted from the attic crawlspace spring before last, because our mink friend had been settling in to use that space as a larder, perhaps even (horrors!) a nursery.

Were we being served notice that this battle for real estate isn't over yet?
I 'd grumble, get pugnacious even, but then I re-assess. I live in a spot where minks run through my garden, leave their crab-shell calling cards, their smelly scats and territory-marking fish-stinking pee. . . As problems go?
Not so bad, right?  

28 comments:

  1. I'm glad you found time for the "happy chairs" this week-end. Time to process and to feel a sense of gratitude is beneficial. Beach glass, stones and the tang of the sea are great for meditative breathing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'd trade it for wiping fox poo off my hands in a city garden! Their trash is other people's takeaway packaging and their marking is pretty noxious too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is that in US, Canada, or Europe? I don't think we have fox in cities here on Canadian West Coast, but coyotes, yes! My mother once found a dead cat buried in amongst her bulbs -- turned out to have been stored there by a coyote (she found out by contacting city re disposing of carcass -- was directed to a study being done which tracked coyotes behaviour, movement, in the city). Are the foxes a worry for those with small-ish pets?

      Delete
  3. I was looking forward to joining you there by the sea, in my imagination, but the stench became increasingly offputting! We have badgers and foxes (not just confined to the towns unfortunately) and our dog loves to roll in their poo. She wreathes herself in it, and all the hosing down in the world never quite shifts the stink... oh joy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Badgers are quite fierce, aren't they? At least when cornered? Our old Golden Retriever used to love, passionately, to roll in otter poo -- and otters eat copious amounts of fish. Ugh! And you're right that no amount of bathing really obliterates that.

      Delete
  4. Mink! I find it enchanting, but yes, I'd switch to breathing though my mouth till the feast debris subsides.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They're sinuously beautiful little creatures, but I'm actually glad for the cleansing rain right now -- 'twill wash that smell away, I hope.

      Delete
  5. Nah, not so bad. I would love to sit by the beach with a glass of wine and the whiff of the sea!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's the spirit! There's a guest cottage with your name on it and I'll have the wine ready to pour. . . .

      Delete
  6. I can't believe you have a mink living in your hood.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, mingling with the deer, the raccoons, the river otters. . . truly, it's a zoo!

      Delete
  7. What an idyllic spot for conversation or contemplation.
    We share our gardens with possums, which can be smelly and destructive. Much to the chagrin of many they are a protected species. Our neighbour had a glorious wall of climbing roses which was decimated overnight. Once possums discover tasty buds they keep returning and can eventually kill the plant.
    Lilibet

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm surprised that they're protected -- from the wee bit of Googling I did, it appears they're extending their range considerably, moving steadily north. I've never seen one -- and I'm hoping they don't consider moving in. It's already far too busy here! ;-)

      Delete
  8. Oh how wonderful!
    I have seen a few minks along the oceanfront and think nature is alive and well when we live so close. We have a family of coons cohabitating in our garden and they poop in the corner by mt Graham Thomas rose and play boules with our stainless garden orbs!
    Your chairs are lovely and to imagine you sitting at the edge of the ocean sipping tea, knitting and reading sounds idyllic

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So we both share our gardens with Graham Thomas and raccoons!

      Delete
  9. Thanks for the virtual invitation! I should have liked that, enjoying the view and the sun while it's cold and rainy over here.
    In our weekend cottage there is something living in the space between ceilings and roof. We don't really know what it is, maybe a marten or a dormouse (or even several). Luckily, no smell or leftovers anywhere. Only when you go to sleep or wake up at night you can hear the pitter-patter of tiny feet overhead. Rather nice, really.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I'd prefer a dormouse over a marten . . . I agree that the tiny pitter-pattering can be enjoyable in a cottage. Not so much in the main house!

      Delete
  10. Oh how lovely, although I understand the territorial issues. No minks for us, but we had coyotes and foxes in my previous locale and I've seen foxes within a few feet of my new house. In NY I had a terrible battle after a mother raccoon chewed and dug through a concrete wall to nest in my basement. Even after managing to evict her, the battle continued with the next generation.

    Still there is something nice about being able to sit and look out over the water, and share your space with wild things, even if they are sometimes unpleasantly obtrusive. I hope some rain comes and clears the air.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yikes! We had a raccoon mama start her babies in our old pumphouse/shed one year, and that was tolerable. In the basement? Not so much (we had to evict river otters from our basement crawlspace many, many years ago -- a bit scary, actually). Your Mama Raccoon actually worked her way through the concrete wall? Determined!
      But I do agree that despite their annoyance factor, it's good to know these wild things are still around us. And the rain is clearing things up for me with its own determination.

      Delete
  11. We just have raccoons. Not smell, but noisy.

    I think I'd be afraid of the mink. Aren't they supposed to be really fierce?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They're not very big, but I wouldn't want to corner one. Mind you, I had a Mama Raccoon growl at me this summer and not back off when I asked her to leave me and my breakfast alone. . . and I had one in the house a few years ago, and they can be pretty fierce as well.

      Delete
  12. I'd join you in that lovely spot. Better a mink than the rats we're battling with. I think. We've taken care of a dozen this year alone. I think they are under control now.
    By the water is such a lovely spot to be; glad you found the time to enjoy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Paul keeps thinking he has our rat situation under control as well. We'll get a few good months and then it starts up again. Only in the last couple of years, so I hope it's just a cycle. Sometimes I think a Jack Russell might be just what we need.

      Delete
  13. Well, at least most of the flesh was cleaned out. :-) We had possums camp out under our house a few years ago, which brought not only bad smells but terrible flea infestations. We check our perimeters regularly to be sure the rascals haven't found their way back in again. Our neighbors have a persimmon tree and thought it was the rats that were eating the fruit, until one of them caught a squirrel in the act and snapped a photo, which she proudly showed me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ugh! I'd never imagined that you might get fleas along with the smells. As for the squirrels, they're cuter than rats, yes, but they can do quite a bit of damage (wire-chewing!) and they really multiply. . . . There's been considerable concern on our little island about recent sightings of grey squirrels, rapidly replacing all the native red squirrels along the Coast and on Vancouver Island.

      Delete
  14. One of my daughters , who lives in London , has foxes in the garden and it's rather nice to watch the cubs playing in the evening . Dealing with their leftovers can be messy , though .
    Hard to decide which I'd find worse ... ageing crab shells or very smelly diaper bags from neighbours' rubbish bins .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do think I might like to have fox cubs in the garden, although I expect that could get just as annoying as the raccoons do here. It wasn't the crab shells that I minded, nor were they what caused the smell, I don't think -- I suspect a bathroom facility had been staked out fairly close by. The crab shells just represented the Before to the bathroom's After. . . I'm with you on the diapers. . . ;-)

      Delete

I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...